Hello, everyone. Thank you so much for joining us today on” This needs to be said”, our friend attorney Charles Laputka is back with another topic because of the place that we’re in after the pandemic, the long he’s going to tell me the right words for it. But I believe there was a moratorium on our mortgages that has ended. And now we’re in the space of figuring out what to do. Hopefully we’ve been thinking about it before now because this time was coming, but there’s something that we could be doing, to help save our homes to not be so overwhelmed with the repayment process that is upon us. So welcome back, Charles. Let’s just jump into the loan modification, topic, and I guess let people know what, what is that even because if you’ve never been in trouble with your mortgage loan modification, was that, you know, again, why didn’t I know about this when I signed up for, you know, getting the house or whatever. So welcome back.
Thank you. It’s great to be back. Katherine. What I wanted to talk about today is your you’re exactly right in what has happened as a result of the pandemic is there was a moratorium against foreclosures for a, about a year and a half, a little bit longer a year and three quarters. And that has expired in January of 2022. So what I want everybody to know for the new year of 2022 is if you are behind on your mortgage for the first time in your life, and you’ve never been in this situation before, I can give you an idea today in the next 10 minutes about what your options might be. And of course, you’re going to want to dig a little deeper and you’re going to want to set up a free consultation with me to get some specifics about your situation but generally speaking, there are a few options for those folks who were unable or unwilling to pay their mortgage during the, pandemic, during this foreclosure moratorium.
And we want to go over those today so the first one that you mentioned is a loan modification. A loan modification is reestablishing a proper payment history with the mortgage company. So let’s say that you’ve owned your house for 10 years and you paid just fine for the last eight. You’ve always been on time. You’ve never heard of a loan modification or a forbearance agreement or any of these terms because when you pay your mortgage on time, like the banks wants you to, like you agreed to in your contract, nobody bothers you. They just wait for the money to show up every month. And as long as you pay it, everybody’s happy. But now we’ve got to deal with the reality of what happens when you don’t pay every month. So what happens is the bank has the remedy of foreclosure. A foreclosure is the court action that the bank takes to get your house back and resell it to somebody else, generally at an auction so that they can get the money back that they let you in.
They’re not losing money. So that’s what we want to avoid. The very first step in that process, at least in the state of Pennsylvania is called an act 91 notice. So what’s going to happen to our consumers and homeowners here in Pennsylvania that are behind on their mortgages is they’re going to be looking for something called an act 91. Notice it’ll say that real big on top, on the first page, when you open it up. And that means the bank is intending to foreclose on you, and you have a very limited window to act. So what you want to do when that happens is you want to contact the bank and say, Hey, do you guys have any options Can I apply for a loan modification So a loan modification is basically where the bank says, okay, we understand you had a temporary, you temporarily fell on hard times and you weren’t able to make your mortgage payment during the pandemic for whatever reason, but we recognized that you were a good customer before you had this issue.
And since you’re back to work, we’re willing to reset your mortgage terms. So generally what they’ll do is, you know? Let’s say you’re a year behind at a thousand dollars a month. They will take that $12,000 and add it to the end of your mortgage and say, listen, we’re going to give you a pass this time for not paying. Don’t ask for it again, because we’re only going to do it once, but we’re going to let you just start over. You start over making the payments in February. We’ll forget you didn’t pay us for the last year. We’ll put it on the end of the loan and we’ll deal with it later. And the reality of the later is most people don’t ever deal with it later because a lot of people don’t pay off their mortgages and they live in their house for a number of years, and then they sell it and move to a bigger one or a smaller one or a different area, whatever.
And all of that money will be recaptured when you sell your home or at the end of your mortgage, if you’re paying it off. So that’s what a loan modification is. Now there’s a lot of paperwork to go through to prove those things to the bank that we just discussed. So it is, it is a labor intensive process. It’s much more than just a phone call. I made it sound nice and simple when I just explained it to you. I promise all you have to do is call them. And then they’re going to send you 50 pages worth of paperwork to fill out, which I know is difficult. Fortunately, I can help you with that. But you, you, you don’t know, just like we said, when we were talking about this, you don’t know, unless you ask, so they’re not going to come to you necessarily and say, Hey, we know you haven’t paid us in a year and a half, but we’d love to work something out. Some banks will, but mostly they’re not going to do that. You’ve got to call and ask for help. Yeah.
And listen, there are other options. So this is always the first, this is always the first request or the, the first arrow in my quiver when we’re, we’re dealing with a foreclosure of a residential property is we’re going to ask the bank to work it out. If we can’t ask the bank, do you know if we asked the bank to work it out and they say, no, you’ve got other options just because they say, no, it’s not the end of the world. You could sell the property. That would be a second option. If you can’t afford the house anymore, maybe you’ve got some equity because you know where I live specifically close to New Jersey and New York and the Eastern side of Pennsylvania here, property values have gone through the roof during the pandemic. So a lot of folks are in a situation where maybe they can’t afford the house, but if they sell it on their own before foreclosure, they could walk away with a chunk of money, you know, maybe 50 or a hundred thousand dollars to start over in a different house.
And if that doesn’t appeal to you and the bank will not allow you to work out a deal out of court, then we always have a conciliation process in the court where we can go through a mediation with the court and try and get the bank to work something out. And then if that doesn’t work, there’s something called chapter 13, bankruptcy, where we can force the bank to accept the repayment plan. Now, the reason that’s generally the last option is because with the chapter 13 bankruptcy, it is going to limit your access to credit for other things. And it’s not going to be the most convenient repayment plan, the most convenient as a loan modification. But like I said, we can, we can get you to stay in your home it’s just a matter of whether you want it and whether you can afford it and, and all of those things.
So I guess what I’m saying, really, Katherine, to sum this conversation up is you need to act early and you need to find out what your options are because the folks who don’t act when they receive that act 91, notice the people that don’t act right away to, to, to make a plan are the ones that end up missing out on good options. So that’s, that’s the real takeaway from this is you’ve got to, if you’ve not paid your mortgage, now that foreclosures are going live again in the moratorium has been lifted. You have got to meet with a licensed professional, and there’s plenty of scammers online, please, please audience don’t fall for these scams online. If somebody offers you something that’s too good to be true. Remember the old adage, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Make sure you meet with a licensed professional.
And I say licensed because I just like every other attorney have a regulatory board that I have to be responsible to. So when you’re dealing with a professional that has a regulated license, you are more likely to get the help that you need and be guided in the right direction, as opposed to somebody just taking your money and running off with it. Because there are so many foreclosure relief scams where you can deal with, you know, somebody in another state or maybe even another country, and you don’t even know about it and you send them thousands of dollars because they promised to get you a loan modification and then they just disappear with your money. You gotta be really careful.
Yeah. Before we wrap up today, I want you to, because I hear you, but then I don’t know if I would recognize it if I didn’t have you in my life to, to tell me, okay, that’s, that’s not good or that’s a fraud. So what are some things yes. If it sounds too good to be true, like sort of used sounds too good to be true, to be so nice and caring and kind and, and an attorney. So, give me a little bit more than, if it’s too good to be true, what is, what is a tip I know that, attorney Charles told me this smells a fraud.
Don’t do it so one of the biggest things that anybody needs to look out for, and frankly, this goes for foreclosure Katherine, as well as any kind of debt relief scams, or any other type of scam. One of the biggest things that you, the biggest red flag is if they do not have a physical location in your county or in your state, you know, I provide services to the entire state of Pennsylvania, not just where my main office is now in town. We’ve got a few branch offices, but they’re not in every county, but I’m in your state. If you are a Pennsylvania resident and I can help you in Pennsylvania, when you’re reaching out to a company that’s in, you know, the, the big places are Florida and California. That’s where I see a lot of the scams come from, but it goes for any state when you’re dealing with a company that’s in another state, crossing state lines, that’s a big red flag about a scam.
And one of the reasons is because if you give somebody money in a different state, it becomes very difficult to get that money back. And you’ll think about it. There’s levels of difficulty, right So I’m saying another state like California or Florida or Colorado, think about it like another country, right You would, you would think twice if somebody I’m going to pick on Ecuador, for some reason you would think twice, if somebody called you from Ecuador and said, I can help you keep your house, right? But you don’t have that barrier in your mind when they say California, because it’s California, right but most people wouldn’t send money to some person in Ecuador that says they can help. You shouldn’t do that in California, either. Because while it’s still our country, when you’re dealing with things like these, it’s, it goes by state law.
So you need to deal with somebody in your state. And then the second red flag would be, you want to know their qualifications. So you want to be able to check that they’re a licensed professional. They could be a realtor. They could be a lawyer. They could be accountant. All of these, all of those professions have a regulatory body. For example, you could go right on the state of Pennsylvania’s website and Google that I am a, an attorney in the state of Pennsylvania. And there is a regulatory body called the Pennsylvania disciplinary board that will let you know that I have no one, that I have no complaints against me. And I have my license in good standing. So you always want to verify a professional license. And those are probably the two biggest things that you can do to protect yourself. Verify the licensed professional is in good standing and don’t deal with somebody that doesn’t have a physical office in your state. And you know, this is, this is what I say to people. I say to people, you don’t want to do business with somebody that you can’t find. So you better make sure that if you give somebody 1, 2, 3, 4, or $5,000 to do some work for you, if they don’t do it, you want to know where they are. So you can go get it back. And if you can’t go get it back, you shouldn’t give it to them.
That is a problem that I think that’s huge. Yes. Yes. Thank you for breaking it down. I mean,
I always tell people, if you give me money and I don’t do what I say, I’m going to do. I expect that you’re going to be here in a parking lot with a baseball bat waiting for me in the morning, because you know, That’s what I expect to do. If I take somebody’s money and don’t do the work, right.
I want to encourage that behavior, but you know,
Well, I mean it, but the point is, if I can’t get in your parking lot, you, I get what you’re saying. If I can’t get access to you, then we have a problem because there should be a checks and balance. It should be, he said, I can do the work. He doesn’t do the work well, what do we do, when you can’t do the work and if there’s a disappearing act, that’s a very sick feeling because you already feel like you’re in a bad place. So we have to be smart, not desperate. And desperation will cause you to make a poor decision. So thank you for listening to us talk, because this isn’t to put anyone down. This is to empower you because there, my son, my youngest son is 21. So 19 years ago, I had to file bankruptcy.
And I was a single mom with three kids. And I purchased my first home. And this was exciting, but now I’m about to lose it. I have to get out of the house. I got to file bankruptcy. They’re going to fall out foreclosures like all of these words were coming up. I didn’t know. They weren’t one in the same. I didn’t know what to do. I felt ashamed, is God is pleased with me. Am I bad example for the community like there was a lot that was going through my head so it would put it, put me in a space of desperation. Now I did file bankruptcy, but it wasn’t because the attorney was nice and thoughtful. It was because they were available and I could pay, and I needed this and I didn’t know any other options. And I, you know what I’m saying.
I didn’t have an attorney that says, well, come and talk to me and I can tell you, you know, what steps to take or what words to say, to get a loan modification, if then, then this none of that. I mean, these words came up for me, but I didn’t know what to do with them and the actual action, not the act 91. Notice I would screw that up too on my own. So I’m grateful. And I hope that the audience is appreciating this information because it’s part of a plan if you need it. And I don’t like being down and out. I don’t know anybody who does, but it’s nice to know. You can get back up and it’s not a gradual when you figure it out things, you don’t have to do it that way anymore. So I’m very, very,
And I just, I know where we got to wrap up, but I just want to address one more thing that you said, because I think it’s very important. And you mentioned, you mentioned God and the church, and you know what I want, I hear this a lot. And what I want people to know is I don’t expect that everyone that believes in God to have read the Bible. But what I want you to know is the Bible does not disapprove of bankruptcy in foreclosure. In fact, the word of God and the Bible calls for people to not be a slave to their debts. And the Bible encourages you to be free from your debts. Bankruptcy is an option that will help that. And of course there are passages in the Bible that say that you should repay your obligations, but there are also passages that say that you do not have to be a slave to your debt specifically. So this is not looked down upon by the church, if it’s your last option. So again, you just have to find out what your options are,
No, your options, and you will be empowered. Absolutely! Let them know Charles, how to get in touch with you outside of “this needs to be said”.
Absolutely! So our phone number, you can call and get yourself a free consultation to find out your options about the foreclosure and bankruptcy and loan modification and all these things. Give us a call at (610) 477-0155. And if you don’t feel like you’re ready to call yet, I’d like you to visit our website at www dot LAPUTKA law.com. That’s L A P U T K A L a w.com. And there is a wealth of information and resources there for you to review. Before you take that step to call us and schedule an appointment. I even have two books that I’ve published about this topic, and you can get free copies of those books electronically, or even a physical copy in the mail just by visiting our website and requesting one. So I just want to say thank you, Katherine, for the opportunity that you give me to speak to your audience. And I really wish everyone a safe and wonderful 2022.
Thank you. Thank you for being here. Thank you for sharing your knowledge. And until next time you have a super day.